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Thursday, April 20, 2000, updated at 09:35(GMT+8)

ICBC Acquires HK Union Bank

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has acquired a controlling stake of the Union Bank of Hong Kong Ltd. at a price of HK$ 1.805 billion, according to a spokesman for the ICBC.

The spokesman said that the ICBC signed an agreement on April 19 with the Hong Kong Merchants (Holdings) Co. on the purchasing of over 239.9 million shares of the Union Bank which were previously held by the Hong Kong Merchants (Holdings) Co.

The amount of shares involved in the acquisition accounts for 53.24 percent of the Union Bank's total equities. The purchasing price is HK$ 7.52 per share.

The Union Bank was founded in Hong Kong in 1964 and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1973. By the end of 1999, the bank had total assets of 21.4 billion Hong Kong dollars, with 22 local branches and one overseas branch.

ICBC President Jiang Jianqing said that the acquisition is of great significance for the bank's business development, as it is an important step in the bank's campaign to promote its international business strategy and intensive development of the Hong Kong market.

He said that after the acquisition, the ICBC will draw on its own advantages to give full support to the Union Bank in business cooperation, capital raising, management and other aspects, aiming to make the Union Bank a first-class listed bank in terms of technology, business classification, profitability and management.

He said the ICBC will also draw on its scientific and technological resources to help the Union Bank improve its electronic banking functions, providing customers with stock transactions, asset management, individual credit, on-line banking and other services, and probe the possibility of connecting the two banks' ATM and credit businesses.

The ICBC already has a branch and two subsidiaries in Hong Kong engaged in whole-sale and investment banking businesses. After the acquisition of the controlling stake of the Union Bank, the ICBC will be able to use the Union Bank's advantages in retail banking business to improve its own operations.

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The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has acquired a controlling stake of the Union Bank of Hong Kong Ltd. at a price of HK$ 1.805 billion.

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